Main features

The design of the euro banknotes has not undergone any fundamental change with the introduction of the second series of banknotes, the Europa series. The new banknotes retain the basic features of the first banknote series with regard to the motifs and main colours depicted in the stylised windows, gateways and bridges, showing architectural styles from different periods of European history.

However, through the integration of new and improved security features, the Europa banknotes underwent a minor modification. The new banknotes have more vibrant colouring with higher contrast and also feature an emerald number, a “portrait window” (€20 euro banknotes and higher) and a “satellite hologram” (€100 and €200 banknotes) in the silver foil stripe as well as a portrait of the Phoenician princess Europa, a figure from Greek mythology, in the watermark and as a hologram on the silver foil stripe. 

Description of front

A series of parallel short raised lines can be felt on the left and right edges of the banknotes. Depending on the denomination of the banknotes, these lines are continuous (€5 and €50), broken once (€10 and €100) or broken twice (€20 and €200). These lines thus represent a feature especially for blind and visually impaired persons, which – together with the format of the banknotes – enables them to clearly identify the individual denomination. Raised print can also be felt in the architectural motif, the lettering and the large value numeral.

The national variants of the abbreviation for European Central Bank (ECB) are shown in raised print along the left edge of the banknote, preceded by the © symbol – denoting that the banknotes are protected by copyright of the ECB – and followed by the year in which the given denomination was first introduced into circulation. Next to that, below the EU flag, is a facsimile of the signature of the incumbent President of the ECB at the time the print contract was awarded. The value numeral in the bottom left corner of the banknote is printed using a special ink; depending on the viewing angle, the colour changes from emerald green to deep blue and, if the banknote is tilted, an effect of light moves up and down the number (“emerald number”). In the case of the two highest denominations, € symbols can also be identified on the emerald number.

A silver foil stripe on the right edge of the banknotes displays (from top to bottom) various holographic structures: the € symbol, a portrait of Europa as well as the architectural motif and the value numeral of the banknote. On the €20 and higher denominations, the portrait of Europa is shown in a “portrait window”. If the banknote is held against the light, this part of the hologram becomes transparent and the portrait appears in a window. In addition, a “satellite hologram” can be identified at the top of the silver foil stripe on the €100 and €200 banknotes. When the banknote is tilted, small € symbols move around the number.

At various places in the motif of the banknote, it is possible to see tiny, sharply printed letters (microprint), which can be read easily under a magnifying glass.

Under ultraviolet light, the stars in the European flag, the small circles, the large stars and several other areas glow yellow.

Description of reverse

A glossy stripe is located in the middle of the banknote. Depending on the viewing angle, the glossy stripe appears gold in colour or is almost invisible. It displays blank spaces in the shape of the € symbol and the value numeral.

On the €20 banknote and higher denominations, the portrait window can be seen on the left-hand side. Looking at the back of the banknote against the light, the window shows the portrait of Europa. Tilting the banknote reveals several rainbow-coloured value numerals.

The serial number of the banknote (consisting of two letters and ten digits, the last of which is the check digit) is located horizontally in the top right corner; the last six digits of the serial number are printed again vertically at the centre of the bottom edge of the note.

As on the front of the banknote, characters in microprint can also be seen in some parts of the printed image under a magnifying glass.

Under ultraviolet light, the horizontal serial number and the glossy stripe have a red-orange glow. A quarter of a circle in the centre of the banknote as well as other parts of the printed image will glow green. The value numeral and the horizontal serial number can be seen under infrared light.